Ghana banks seek innovation
By Issa Sikiti da Silva, in Accra, Ghana
The innovation and technological regeneration adventure is expensive and littered with challenges, but it is worthwhile embarking on it, Ghana-based banks believe.
Quite a number of these banks have been investing heavily on technology, in an effort to come up with new innovative ways of banking to counter the supremacy of traditional banking, which seems to choke Africa.
Technology analyst Osei-John Seidu told Biztechafrica that these innovations are urgently needed in this highly competitive space, not only to steer growth and increase market share, but also to offer customers something much more than banking.
He also said that the country’s banks were looking to enhance their bank-customers communication channels, an area where many banks in the continent were badly lacking.
Ecobank recently launched its Ecobank Direct, a digital banking product that is said to have swept its customers on their feet. And those who visit the pan-African bank’s Digital Centre in Labone (Accra) testified that Ecobank Direct is indeed a real digital experience.
GCB, which extended its profit after tax to 223.51-million Ghana cedis (about US$78-million) in 2013, said it has experienced major technological advances in the past year, and is now enjoying the fruit of these on-going investments bank in technology, risk management system and channels enhancement.
Meanwhile, Fidelity Bank has opened a modern customer care contact centre that will enable it to communicate more effectively with its clients and the general public.
Fidelity Bank Head of Customer Care Sharon Oko-Matey said the centre has been reconfigured to run on a state-of-the-art software platform to ensure a significant increase in the communication channels in addition to voice calls.
The contact centre now carries communication via data, voice, web chat, e-mail, and it will soon be scaled up with additional functionality for customers to interact with the bank through social media, Oko-Matey said last week.
African banks’ quest for new innovative ways of banking has been acknowledged by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in its latest report, which said that digital finance in sub-Sahara Africa has massively increased over the years.
“These innovations have had a profound impact on financial inclusion in markets where they have taken root, and appear to leapfrog traditional banking and micro-finance as a means of delivering financial services to the poor,’ the report said.
IFC is a member of the World Bank.